Oishi Ribbed Cracklings in Old Fashioned Salt & Vinegar & Special Edition Awkward Wednesday: The Patio Asian Story
Junk Food Nation, it’s 2012, and it’s time for us to get to know each other better. I’ve posted about a new junk food every day since 6/24/2011, so what have you learned about me so far? Well, you know I live in DC. You know I’m an attorney. You know I’m a Bills fan, that I love junk food, and that I am extremely awkward. Well, here’s another piece to your puzzle: I’m also Asian. Taiwanese, to be specific.
I know what you’re thinkin’: “Awh man, another Asian writing a junk food blog?” We can revisit this topic later. I mention my ethnicity only because recently, Gawker picked up a story about an Asian girl who ordered a pizza from Papa John’s, got the receipt, and found that the pizza was for “lady chinky eyes.” Gawker in turn asked more readers to share their weird-receipt and fast-food racism / sexism tales. This spawned a number of other stories and pics, which you can see here, here, and here. Funny and ridiculous coverage. I’m not here to discuss race issues today (or ever, if this blog can help it), but I thought I’d share my OWN receipt-story:
Near my office in downtown DC is a sports bar called the Greene Turtle. It’s a typical sports restaurant with TVs and chicken wings, but in the summer it’s a popular spot because it’s the only eatery near the Verizon Center that has outdoor seating. Anyways, on a hot summer day almost four years ago, my friend Joe and I were outside eating lunch. Our waiter seemed very pleasant. Afterwards, we got the check, and I looked down to see this: (I highlighted the relevant portion; click picture for larger version)
Yep, “Patio Asian.” Because, hey, I was the Asian sitting on the patio. (Joe is not Asian.) I didn’t say anything about it at the time, although my friend Joe was in insta-WTF mode. I kept looking around wondering what other customers’ receipts said? “Fat bald guy.” “Black girl with unibrow.” “Hot chick with one crooked tooth.” “Sort of hot girl who used to be hot but is quickly passing her prime but still dresses slutty.”
I took the receipt back to my office and showed everyone. Of course, it became a hit in the office, and my friend Lucy took to calling me “Patio” or “P.A.” randomly. I still have the receipt here in my apartment, and sometimes I’ll tell the story and take out the receipt to prove it. It’s faded considerably after all this time, but the message is clear: (you insert sarcastic comment about the Greene Turtle’s employees).
And, in celebration of this story, I thought I’d review an Asian junk food today: Oishi Ribbed Cracklings in Old Fashioned Salt & Vinegar!
Oishi Ribbed Cracklings in Old Fashioned Salt & Vinegar…it’s always enjoyable when the name of the product is a full-on sentence, don’t ya think? I found these Ribbed Cracklings at my local Super Q-Mart, a Korean/Latino grocery store that hasn’t changed their weekly ad since September. Oishi is a …well, I have no idea what kind of company it is by looking at the website. The bag says its a product of the Philippines, but the website feels eerily similar to JJ Abrams’ Slusho site.
By the way, this bag was inflated so tight I was afraid to open it lest I be thrown through the window.
Oishi Ribbed Cracklings in Old Fashioned Salt & Vinegar talks about “beer match,” which apparently is Oishi’s attempt at making snacks that pair well with beer. It’s strange for me to see an “Objective” section on a bag of junk food, but hey, who am I to judge? If Oishi wants these chips to read like a resume – so be it.
Now, who’s THIS guy?! And why is he labeled, “Classic”? Is he, as a cartoon of an old white guy, Oishi’s visual representation of the word, “Classic”? Is his NAME “Classic”? And does it bother anyone else that with a snack that has the word “Ribbed” in the name, he appears to be holding a condom?
Personally, I’d prefer some Nu Wave salt & vinegar, but if we MUST go old fashioned…
On the back of Oishi Ribbed Cracklings in Old Fashioned Salt & Vinegar, there are clear instructions: “Store in dry place.” “Consume after opening.” “Weird chickens wear UGGs.” “Uncle Classic rides again.”
Size = BM. Yeah, I’m not even gonna try to come up with a joke for that softball.
Instead, I refer you to the silhouette of the UGG-wearing chicken throwing trash away. I dunno why it’s there. I was hoping YOU’D tell ME.
Oishi Ribbed Cracklings in Old Fashioned Salt & Vinegar contain vegetable oil, pork artificial flavor, MSG, and fish sauce. I didn’t know I was getting a bag of Moo Shu Pork! And TBHQ is the final ingredient, to (yikes) “retard rancidity.” I didn’t even know “rancidity” was a word until now.
As for TBHQ, according to my research: “TBHQ is used in many foods, ranging from crackers to crisps to fast foods. It is also found in certain brands of pet foods, as well as in cosmetic and baby skincare products, varnish, lacquers and resins. It is used in the stabilisation process of explosive compounds. The risks and side-effects of this preservative product far outweigh the benefit of it being used as a highly unsafe preservative ingredient.”
Oishi Ribbed Cracklings in Old Fashioned Salt & Vinegar look just like…big rice crackers? They look sort of like these Octopus Chips I previously reviewed.
The smell emanating from the bag was of a faint sour vinegar. So…there’s that.
Oishi Ribbed Cracklings in Old Fashioned Salt & Vinegar, up close, look pretty plain. There’s some powder on the puffy crisp, but its the same color as the chip itself. Way to wear all beige, Oishi.
I popped some of these Oishi Ribbed Cracklings in Old Fashioned Salt & Vinegar into my mouth and chewed. And damnit if that wasn’t a tasty ribbed crackling!
The texture: similar to an air-popped chip or a deep fried pork rind, these crisps were light, fluffy, and crunchy at the same time. Plenty of air within, these were not a dense chip. Good crunch to the teeth.
The taste: When you first place one on your tongue, you get the immediate flavor of sour malt vinegar (which is interesting because I didn’t see vinegar listed in the ingredients list.) The vinegar is well matched by a general saltiness to this puffed crisp. The taste of the puff was wheat-y (this was not a rice cracker). As I chewed the crisp, the sour salty flavor gave way to a very very light spicy tingle on my tongue, which was a surprising finish to this snack.
I guess when you mix all that MSG and other harmful chemicals together, you CAN get a flavorful bag of junk food! Nice work, Oishi. I did not try this with beer, for fear that all the artificial chemicals mixed with alcohol would result in me geysering out of one of the ends of my body. But hey – beer match away, Junk Food Nation!
Sincerely, Junk Food Guy